Toward a producerist society
I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that The American Scene’s Noah Millman has been on a roll lately. I meant to comment on this piece of his a while back but never got around to it. Here’s Noah commenting on Rod Dreher (and the Front Porchy, anti-modernists folk in general) and the consumerist society:
The . . . choice, then, is set up between a traditional, producerist world, in which what you want to have is not important, only what you must do, and the individual is subordinate to the great project of producing a new generation and passing down traditional understandings to them – and the modern, consumerist world, in which there is precious little you must do and what’s important is what you want to have, and that the economic wheels are greased to facilitate your getting it (consistent with not taking away from somebody else by force what he or she wants to have, my freedom ending where my fist impacts your face and all that).
But there’s an implicitly excluded third alternative that, humbly, is the object of my own preferred utopian yearning, and that is the idea of a modern, producerist world.
I enjoy third ways, and this one in particular makes a great deal of sense, especially when you take into account the thrust of information technology, micro-manufacturing, and other technological developments which make it easier and cheaper for people to produce for themselves. Right now that may be more obvious in the realm of self-publishing or home music recording, but I suspect in the future – as fuel costs rise and costs to manufacture goods locally become comparatively lower – we will see that shift more and more into other industries.
In any case, there really is no reason that the dynamic should be set up between only the traditionalist, agrarian types and the modern consumerists. I’m glad we’re having the discussion. And I think the Porchers offer an important and necessary critique of the modern world. We may be adaptable, and we may have a society especially suited to evolution, but it’s always good to be reminded of past ideas as well, if only to incorporate them better into our modern notions.
*Apologies for the role/roll mix-up. Mama said there’d be days like this.